The South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The South African affiliate centre (C4IR-SA) will facilitate the adoption of transformative technologies through development of technology governance frameworks and policies informed by South Africa’s socio-economic imperatives and shaped by South Africa’s unique contexts and circumstances as a developing economy. Due to the globalised nature of the economy and the digital transformation, South Africa and Africa as a whole will need to actively collaborate both internally and externally in order to remain competitive.

Emerging technologies inevitably have both merits and risks. The extent to which the benefits are maximized and the risks mitigated depends on the quality of governance protocols – policies, norms, standards and incentives that shape the development and deployment of technologies. Governance must be stable, interoperable, predictable and transparent enough to build confidence among investors, companies, scientists and the general public, but also agile enough to remain relevant in the face of rapid advances in technology.

Policy governing emerging technologies is currently piecemeal: Some areas are regulated heavily, others hardly at all. Often, mechanisms for policy-makers to interact with people at the cutting edge of research simply do not exist.

There is a need for a global and trusted space where leading technology companies, dynamic start-ups, policy-makers, international organizations, regulators, business organizations, academia and civil society can collaborate to develop the agile policy norms and partnerships needed to stimulate the enormous potential of science and technology, deliver rapid growth and generate sustainable, positive impact for all.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the Centre has partnered with governments and private companies to establish hubs in China, India and Japan in order to scale and accelerate projects globally as well as Affiliate Centres in Colombia, Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and South Africa which are managed and operated locally by governments and/or invited companies and academic institutions.

Drawing on the World Economic Forum’s global convening power, community creation and insight generation, the South African Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution aims to accelerate cross-sector, national and global cooperation for Fourth Industrial Revolution governance. The Centre will develop, pilot and scale agile and human-centred governance tools that can be adopted by policy-makers, legislators and regulators worldwide to address challenges related to emerging technologies.

The South African Centre will focus, initially, on  co-designing and piloting policy frameworks and governance protocols in 4 areas:

  • Internet of Things
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Blockchain and Distributed Ledger
  • Data Policy

The Global Network also has projects dedicated to Autonomous Mobility and Drone Technology, Agile Governance, Precision MedicineDigital Trade and Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth.